|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad:
he had found in his cabin a week before. The why and the wherefore
of that scorpion--how it got on board and came to select his room
rather than the pantry (which was a dark place and more what a scorpion
would be partial to), and how on earth it managed to drown itself
in the inkwell of his writing desk--had exercised him infinitely.
The ship within the islands was much more easily accounted for;
and just as we were about to rise from table he made his pronouncement.
She was, he doubted not, a ship from home lately arrived. Probably she
drew too much water to cross the bar except at the top of spring tides.
Therefore she went into that natural harbor to wait for a few days
in preference to remaining in an open roadstead.
The Secret Sharer
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Hiero by Xenophon:
touton nomois o Drakon . . . katharon diorisen einai}. "Now in the
laws upon this subject, Draco, although he strove to make it
fearful and dreadful for a man to slay another, and ordained that
the homicide should be excluded from lustrations, cups, and drink-
offerings, from the temples and the market-place, specifying
everything by which he thought most effectually to restrain people
from such a practice, still did not abolish the rule of justice,
but laid down the cases in which it should be lawful to kill, and
declared that the killer under such circumstances should be deemed
pure" (C. R. Kennedy).
 e.g. Harmodius and Aristogeiton. See Dem. loc. cit. 138: "The
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Letters from England by Elizabeth Davis Bancroft:
now often discussed as, perhaps, an approaching necessity.
Friday, April 14
The day of the Chartists passed off with most ridiculous quiet, and
the government is stronger than ever. . . . If the Alien Bill
passes, our American friends must mind their p's and q's, for if
they praise the "model republic" too loudly, they may be packed off
at any time, particularly if they have "long beards," for it seems
to be an axiom here that beards, mustaches, and barricades are
cousins-german at least. . . . Mr. Bancroft goes to Paris on Monday,
the 17th, to pass the Easter holidays. He will go on with his
manuscripts, and at the same time witness the elections and meeting
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Protagoras by Plato:
The honourable work is also useful and good?
This was admitted.
Then, I said, if the pleasant is the good, nobody does anything under the
idea or conviction that some other thing would be better and is also
attainable, when he might do the better. And this inferiority of a man to
himself is merely ignorance, as the superiority of a man to himself is
They all assented.
And is not ignorance the having a false opinion and being deceived about
To this also they unanimously assented.